A Troy-based diecasting business burned Wednesday, causing an estimated loss of at least $3 million, Troy Fire Chief Justin Jackson said.
A fire was called in at about 3:33 a.m. at Anderton Castings, 222 Lely Drive, and the first Troy Volunteer Fire Department firefighters found flames coming through the roof, Jackson said.
Employees were still evacuating from the structure when crews arrived, but no one was injured.
About 60,000 square feet of the 142,000-square-foot business that makes automotive parts and aluminum items for industrial markets burned in the inferno. Most of the building collapsed, Jackson said.
The initial report was that a malfunction happened during the manufacturing process that eventually set the roof on fire. Employees tried to put out the flames with extinguishers but weren’t successful, Jackson added.
Part of the reason the blaze was so hard to extinguish was that metal shavings are hard to put out with water because metal burns at a very high heat.
At noon Wednesday firefighters were using two excavators to try to reach the still-burning parts of the fire, partly fueled by cardboard packaging, Jackson said.
Anderton Castings was formerly C&H Die Casting, which was in business for decades, Troy City Administrator Jeff Straub said.
“We’re saddened by the loss and hope they will rebuild and come back bigger and better,” Straub said, adding that he believed Anderton Castings was the largest employer in Troy.
The facility’s website said the Troy location employees about 270 employees and has an annual revenue of about $115.5 million.
Anderton Castings LLC was founded in 2014, according to its corporate website.
The rebranding of C&H Diecastings as Anderton Castings, a Michigan-based investment firm, came weeks after C&H Diecastings was cited by OSHA.
The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration in January 2015 cited C&H Die Casting Inc. for 15 serious safety and health standards violations found during a September 2014 inspection, according to Foundry Management & Technology.
The finding was the second one in 18 months for which the facility was cited, and it was also cited for repeat violations stemming from as far back as August 2012. Some of the violations included using spliced electrical cords, the failure to repair damaged and uneven concrete floors, the failure to guard belts, pulleys and shafts, and the use of spliced welding cables, uncovered welding terminals, missing grounding prongs on electrical cords and unlabeled circuit breaker panels.
OSHA investigators also watched an employee pour molten metal into dies without wearing proper protective equipment, the report said.
No one in the corporate office was available to answer questions Wednesday about the fire or previous OSHA violations when the business was C&H Die Casting.
Anderton Castings has offices in Jackson, Mich.; Monterrey, Mexico; and France.